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Why am I always in pain a week before my period, and my mood completely changes and I feel really sad?
It sounds like you have Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). In this case, your symptoms are caused by a drop in progesterone levels, which occurs about a week after ovulation if you’re not pregnant. This drop in progesterone levels can cause pain as well as mood swings.
To start, as the progesterone level drops, the lining of the uterus begins to break down, which will cause your period to start. When the uterine lining breaks down, it releases a lipid called prostaglandin (the same compound that causes the uterus to contract when a woman is in labor). I’m sure you’ve heard that uterine contractions during birth are pretty intense? Well, the prostaglandin that is released causes mini-contractions. Those then trigger the uterus to expel the period blood! Those mini-contractions or ‘cramps’ may also cause back pain, diarrhea and bloating.
Additionally, changes in hormone levels associated with your period also cause mood swings. Have you heard of postpartum depression? Some women get sad and weepy after giving birth even though they love their newborn baby. A similar thing can happen, though to a lesser extent, with each menstrual cycle!
If PMS is impacting your quality of life, definitely reach out to your healthcare provider — there are some great treatment options available that aim to reduce these types of symptoms.